Archaeologists survey castle’s officers’ quarters and library

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are in the Island to survey historic buildings at Elizabeth Castle ahead of a multi-million-pound restoration programme due for completion by 2025.

Archaeologist Dav Smith is carrying out work at Elizabeth Castle Picture: COLLEEN MORGAN
Archaeologist Dav Smith is carrying out work at Elizabeth Castle Picture: COLLEEN MORGAN

Dav Smith, from York University, and fellow archaeologist Susan Brook are undertaking work for Jersey Heritage as part of an ongoing programme, the latest elements of which were included in last year’s government plan.

Attention is now focused on the officers’ quarters and the adjacent library in the Lower Ward, where photographic and measured surveys of both buildings will be undertaken with subsequent archaeological analysis of their development and later use.

York University has a four-year link with the castle, having previously undertaken excavations of the Castle Green, the Napoleonic hospital block and later structures dating from the Occupation.

As Mr Smith explained: ‘Elizabeth Castle has an incredibly rich history, covering multiple time periods, and it will be fascinating to see what information these latest surveys reveal to us.

‘We can’t bring students with us this year to carry out excavation work in the field, as we have done in the past, but we’re glad to be able to return to Jersey for the first time in two years.

‘Hopefully, we’ll be back again in 2022 for a bigger visit with a new group of students and plenty of interaction with the public at the castle, which we have enjoyed so much in previous years.’

Jersey Heritage plans to restore the officers’ quarters to their original use as accommodation, which will expand the opportunity for visitors to stay overnight at the castle, while the library will house an exhibition showing how the buildings were previously used by the military.

Chief executive Jonathan Carter explained that the work was part of a much larger project to ensure the castle’s wealth of stories were preserved and would continue to be related to future generations.

‘After such a difficult year in 2020, when all plans for visiting archaeologists had to be put on hold, it’s been fantastic to be able to welcome Dav and Susan to Jersey. The University of York team is a little smaller than in previous years but the work they are carrying out is just as important and essential to our plans for the future of Elizabeth Castle,’ Mr Carter said.

‘While they are in the Island, Dav and Susan will also be working on Gigoulande Mill, which is owned by the Crown, to bring together existing information about the site to help inform a decision about its potential use in the future.’

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